EU Unable to Cut Its Reliance on Russian Gas in Near Future - Analyst

© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev / Go to the mediabankPipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline - Sputnik International
Russian gas supplies to Europe have been growing, despite constant statements by EU representatives on the diversification of energy sources. In an interview with Sputnik, Slovak journalist and editor-in-chief of the analytical portal ď Petr Toth commented on the situation in the energy field.

The EU won't be able to reduce dependence on Russian gas in the near future, Slovak analyst Petr Toth told Sputnik.

"If everything was so simple, Germany wouldn't build the Nord Stream-2 pipeline jointly with Russia; the Germans would rather try to arrange supplies of Norwegian gas. The geographic reality is that, the Eastern, Central and large parts of Southern Europe have to cooperate with Russia," the analyst stated.

As gas supplies to Europe in 2017 reached record high since 1990, European politicians and journalists have become increasingly concerned with the fact that Russia allegedly uses gas supplies as an instrument of foreign policy.

READ MORE: Russian Gas 'Should Remain Part of Diversified Energy Mix for Europe' — US DoS

Toth partially agrees with this point of view, saying that energy supplies are quite an efficient political lever in Russia's hands.

"We may not like this and this may be unpleasant for many countries, but natural wealth, above all, gas, is the economic and geopolitical advantage of Russia," the journalist said.

Prior to the grand opening ceremony of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the German town of Lubmin. - Sputnik International
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At the same time, Toth believes that this advantage has its limitations which he relates to the rapid development of the shale gas and oil industry.

"Shale oil and gas production in the US is growing. All this leads to is a decrease in energy prices on global markets, which negatively affects the Russian budget," Toth stated.

The journalist believes that a situation when Russia would completely stop its gas supplies to Europe is pretty much unlikely. In his opinion, such a scenario is possible only "if there is an armed conflict between the EU and Russia" or "if China, Turkey and a number of other countries will be able to reimburse Russia's gas supplies to Europe."

According to the journalist, the strengthening of Russian-German relations would ensure stability not only in the energy field, but also in terms of security.

"If stability in Europe depends on good relations between France and Germany, the stability in northern Eurasia depends on good relations between Germany and Russia. It should be noted that stable trade and political German-Russian relations play a key role in ensuring peace in Europe," Toth concluded.

READ MORE: Trade War: US Energy Sanctions on Russia Will Have 'Negative Blow' for EU

In early January, the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller, said that Russia's gas exports to Europe and Turkey increased by 8.1 percent to a record high of 193.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2017. The rise came despite the fact that the EU has repeatedly announced its plans to decrease its dependence on Russian energy and diversify its energy sources.

At the same time, the United States has been indeed increasing its liquefied natural gas deliveries to Europe, becoming the sixth largest LNG supplier to the 28-nation European Union in the first quarter of 2017. According to the International Energy Agency, Washington will become one of the leading LNG exporters over the next five years.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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